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Old 02-10-2006, 03:30 AM   #1
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Tang Advice Needed

Over the last several months I've gone through setting up my 75g tank (w/40 gallon sump), adding LR and livesand, and cycling the tank. I added a variety of inverts (crabs and snails) on Wed and today (Thu), I added my first fish: two very small tangs (a yellow and a Kole yellow eye) after 2 hours of acclimation. I didn't use a QT b/c (1) they were my tank's first fish and (2) my wife and I live in a small apartment and she doesn't like seeing fish equipment and tanks everywhere.

My tanks parameters are all good:
Ammonia = 0ppm
Nitrites = 0ppm
Nitrates < 5ppm
Salinity =1.025
pH = 84
Temp = 81

They immediately began to pick at algae on the LR as soon as they were in the tank and appeared to be quite happy. Right before the lights went off I noticed (1) two white dots on the fin of the Yellow Tang that I didn't notice at the LFS and (2) three of four slightly raised bumps on his body. The Kole Tang looked fine.

So, my questions are the following:
(1) How likely is it that the yellow tang has ich?
(2) If it is ich, what should I do? I can think of several options:
i. Wait for several weeks to see if the problem worsens. If it does worsen, move both fish to a QT.
ii. Immediately move both fish to a QT for six weeks and let the main tank go fallow.
iii. Take the yellow tang back to the LFS ASAP and hope that I lucked out and no ich managed to end up in the main tank.
iv. Take both tangs back to the LFS (so as to not have to deal with the QT), allow the main tank to run fallow for six weeks, and get two additional fish after the 6 weeks.

Obivously I want to fix the problem if it is ich, but after having spent two months setting up my tank, the though of waiting another 6 weeks and potentially losing the tangs during the quarantine process is difficult to stomach. I'd prefer not to have to take the fish back to LFS b/c I'm really happy with them, but I'm also not incredibly enthusiastic about running a QT for 6 weeks.

Any suggestions will be greatly welcomed.

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Old 02-10-2006, 10:11 AM   #2
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Hi jgr and welcome to AA!!

Its nice to see that you have allowed your tank the proper amount of cycle time and are using the right approach to acclimation. Both are areas where many hobbyists make thier first mistakes. 99.9% of the time any Tang or surgeonfish species will contract ich when moved from one aquarium to another or just purchased. Why this is, I dont know but I have never had a tang not get an outbreak of ich at some point. Some tangs are renowned for thier ability to get ich, but typically its not that these tangs get ich worse than others, they are just a dark color and show it better.

In my opinion there is no doubt your yellow tang has raised bumps on the skin because of the ich parasite. Since yellow tangs are such vivid yellow ich often looks like small raised bumps when it attacks them. The good news is I dont think you will need to take any "drastic" measures to help him out and have a healthy fish. Here are your options.

1st: Since these are your first fish and I am guessing you have no inverts in your tank you could drop your salinity to 1.015 and use the hypo saline water to cure the ich. The good news is the ich will break off your tang within an few days and die. The bad news is it will take the better part of your biological filter with it. While this option would be easiest, like I said earlier its hard on the bio-filter but a natural way of curing ich.

2. Put the tangs in a qt tank, 10-20 gallons perhaps, and use the same 1.015 salinity to cure the ich there. After 2 weeks or so in the qt place the tangs back in the main tank or leave the main tank fallow for about 1-2 months.

3. If you have no inverts in your aquarium you could always treat the ich outbreak with a copper solution like Mardel's Copper Safe. Do remember though that copper binds to rock, decorations even silicone sealent so if you take this route chances are your current aquarium can never be a reef or invert tank!

My recommendation is by far option 2 but option 1 if option 2 is out of the question. One thing to remember is that both hypo salinity and copper kill inverts from snails to shrimp to corals to crabs. Even your marine copopods will die off from either option. This is one reason that having that qt tank is a must in the marine hobby. Most hobbysits tell me of 70-80% better success with fish health and life when they implement a qt tank - so to me its an obvious choice. A qt tank can be small (10-20 gallons) and only needs a heater - sponge filter and air pump. I know many hobbyists who have installed qt tanks in cupboards so they are not in the way.

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Old 02-10-2006, 11:51 AM   #3
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Although I do agree with some of macman's advice, I STRONGLY encourage you to NEVER treat your main tank with copper. If you were to dose copper, the chances of ever being able to have an invert in the tank are very low. Copper absorbs into the LR, seams, etc and can leach out over time.

It does sound to me like your tang has ich. Unfortunately, if you see the parasite on your fish, it has almost definitely spread to the tank. My suggestion would be the following:

Remove both tangs and get them in a QT. You can treat with either hyposalinity or copper. If copper, I would recommend Cuppramine. Make sure you have a copper test kit as well to check the concentration. If you use hypo, you will need to drop the salinity to 1.009 and keep it there for 4-6 weeks. You will need a refractometer to do this treatment successfully because swing-arm hydrometers are not accurate enough.

Regardless of the treatment, your main tank must stay fishless for 6-8 weeks. I know this sounds like a long time (i have had to do this myself), but if you do not leave it fallow, you will be adding the fish back to a tank that could still potentially have live parasites and you would start the process all over again.

I know exactly what you mean about having a wife that hates the sight of extra equipment around. I have dealt with the same thing. You just have to do something nice for her in order to make up for it!!!

If you have any more questions, please ask, we are here to help!!

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Old 02-10-2006, 04:27 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the advice. I think the QT tank with hypo is the way to go. From what I've read, hypo is generally less stressful for the fish as compared to using copper sulfate. I'd consider using hypo in my main tank, but I already have a fair number of inverts (crabs and snails) wandering around.
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Old 02-10-2006, 08:53 PM   #5
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I agree that you should not use copper in the main. But also be sure that you do have ick. I know that from the description that it sounds like you may have it but be sure.


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Old 02-10-2006, 08:59 PM   #6
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anyway possible you can take some pictures?

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